Best Black Bean Burger

And it’s a gluten-free, vegan burger FTW!

(Mom and Dad, that means “for the win” in nerdy internet-speak. ;)

I am ecstatic to announce that after a whole afternoon of testing out ingredient ratios and cooking variables, I have come up with a happy little veggie burger with nice nutritional stats and a big burger-y taste.

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Really!  It does!  It tastes burger-y!

I say this with enthusiasm because funniest complaint I’ve ever heard about veggie burgers is “but they taste nothing like a burger!”

Well, yeah… if you’ve only had burgers made of beef, it’s not going to taste like that.  After all, a veggie burger is not made of beef.  Similarly, turkey burgers do not taste like beef burgers and snozberries most likely do not taste like snozberries, but still we happily eat them.

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Therefore, my reply today is this – if it is uber-tasty, can go on a bun (this one is homemade!) with all the toppings of a burger, is fabulous at a cookout with your feet dangling in the pool, and it is as nutritionally good or better than a traditional hamburger… can’t we still call it a burger?

It’s just not right if we have to start calling them meatless flapjacks or something.  They’re so much better than that.

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Black Bean Veggie Burger

¼ block extra-firm tofu

½ cup cooked quinoa (you’ll need almost ½ cup dry, cook with 1 ½ cups water or broth + then measure ½ cup cooked)

½ cup ground flaxseed

1 ½ 15-oz cans black beans, rinsed and drained

¾ c. frozen corn, thawed

1 c. frozen broccoli florets, thawed

1 ½ c. frozen cubed butternut squash, thawed

1 tsp. canola or olive oil

½ small onion, diced as finely as possible

1 stalk green onions, chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

¼- ½ tsp. cayenne pepper

¾ tsp. cumin

¾ tsp. chili powder

½ tsp. smoked paprika

½ tsp. onion powder

½ tsp. garlic powder

10-20 turns of the pepper mill

Up to ½ tsp. salt

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First, you’ll need to get as much liquid as you reasonably can out of the ingredients in order to get the burger to cook the way you want.  For the tofu, pile paper towels under and on top of the ¼ block and set something heavy on that, like a big book, to sit for up to 30 minutes.

The quinoa, black beans, corn, butternut squash, and broccoli can all be set on paper towels if they seem too damp after cooking or thawing.

Mix together the black beans, corn, broccoli, and quinoa, and place half the mixture in a food processor.

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Add the tofu and ground flaxseed to the food processor as well and blend to make the burger base.

Mix this into the non-blended black bean mixture along with the butternut squash and the rest of the ingredients.

Generously spray a cast iron pan with cooking spray and preheat to medium-low.  I had to wait at least 10 minutes until my pan was heated to where I needed it, BTW.

(Mom and Dad, you already know BTW, right? :)

Scoop the mixture right into the pan with an ice cream scoop that has the little handle-attachment that releases its contents … and with a greased pancake-flipper-spatula, immediately push it down on top to flatten the burger (to about ¼” thick).  You can nudge it into a rounded shape easily here.

Spritz the top of the burger with cooking oil, and let the first side finish cooking, about 3-4 minutes.  Carefully flip it and cook another 3-4 minutes.  When it’s done, it should not feel mushy – or dry – in the middle, just soft.

I also tried baking these.  It works, they just don't brown or crisp quite as nicely.  However, if you want to try it, bake them on a sprayed metal pan at 375 degrees F. for 10 minutes per side.  I'm sure you could grill these as well, with a little burger basket or something, but I haven't attempted it.

Remove to a plate and allow to cool at least two minutes – like you would a freshly baked cookie (but we all know you don’t really let cookies cool) – or it may crumble.

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Serve on top of a Homemade Whole Wheat Bun with your favorite toppings and a generous helping of Rosemary Red Potato Fries!

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